Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Is Google Censoring Recent Video Conferencing Controversy Results?

Use of video conferencing in India is not new but its blocking is certainly new. The recent fiasco of Rajasthan government and Rajasthan police that did not allow the video conferencing of Salman Rushdie shows that India is not comfortable with technology uses for serious issues.

The recent episode has proved that video conferencing in India is a troubled technology and shows Indian struggle with information technology. We have no dedicated video conferencing laws and regulations in India. Similarly we have no dedicated video conferencing blocking laws in India as well. In the absence of a clear cut law, constitutional issues like speech and expression are at stake.

However, my interest in blocking of video conferencing in India is also associated with another crucial issue. It seems Google has been manipulating search and blog results pertaining to posts criticizing recent blocking of video conferencing in India. India wanted companies like Google and Facebook to censor users’ contents and this is exactly what seems to be happening in India.

Recently two posts titled video conferencing laws and regulations in India and video conferencing blocking laws in India, posted at PTLB Blog, appeared in both search results and blog search results. Now they do not appear anymore in both search results. Surprisingly, they are still available in both search results outside Indian cyberspace.

Google, Facebook, etc are facing a criminal trail for not removing objectionable contents. What is more surprising is the argument taken by Google India in Delhi High Court. Google India claimed that it is a subsidiary of Google Incorporation and has no control over contents available at latter’s platforms.

If this is the situation, who has removed the search results of the abovementioned two articles on video conferencing is an interesting question. Naturally, it can be only Google Incorporation that can remove such results as per Google India’s claim. However, since search results of the two posts are available outside India, it seems to be a job of Google India. May be Google India had requested Google Incorporation to remove the same or it did the same on its own.

It is high time to ascertain the true nature, role, powers and functions of Google India as posts are frequently disappearing from India based search results. I hope Delhi High Court would take note of this fact and the averments made in this article while deciding the case of Google India and Google Incorporation.

Update: It seems Google Incorporation (California, US) has approved the posts. These posts have resurfaced. Thanks to Google US for doing the needful. So it seems Google US is not censoring recent video conferencing controversy results in India.